It’s been a few weeks now since my last post, so I thought it might be time for an update. First of all I want to thank everyone for the overwhelming amount of encouragement, support and prayers that have flooded in since I have been dealing with these vocal issues. I have been very moved and humbled by your kindness. Thank you very much!
For those of you who don’t know, I have been having some issues recently with my voice. You can read a letter I wrote in a previous post “I THINK I’M LEARNING SOMETHING ABOUT IDENTITY, WHICH WEAVES INTO CALLING WHICH THEN BECOMES OUR LEGACY.” if you want to get a little more caught up with what’s been going on, but here’s the short version. A few weeks ago my voice was giving out while I was singing, so I saw a throat doctor and a voice specialist to see if we could figure out the problem. After they sent a video camera up my nose and another down my throat they saw a small bump of swelling on my vocal chord. These bumps are referred to as vocal polyps, and they are no good. Both the specialist and the doctor advised me that I should go on vocal rest for two weeks to see if the swelling would go down. That meant no singing and no talking for two whole weeks. I was also given some steroids to see if they would help. I was excited about them until they informed me that these weren’t the kind that make you buff.
The first few days of no talking were pretty hard. My family had to adjust to it. There were definitely a few tears from my 2 year old, Penelope. We heard the question “Daddy talk now?” too many times to count. After the first few days, though it was still difficult, we started settling into a rhythm. Penelope started getting used to asking Mallory (my wife) what I was trying to say, though the questions about when I would talk again never stopped. I would type into my phone and let a robot voice speak for me. There is this iPhone app where you can even download famous people’s voices to talk for you. Hearing a robotic version of George W. Bush telling the band they did a good job was worth at least a few hours of silence.
This past Monday marked 15 days of no talking and was also the day I had my check up to see if things were healing. After another video camera went down my throat they saw that the polyp was still there. Like most health issues, it takes some time to pin point the exact cause of these kinds of things, and starting with the least invasive procedures is usually the best way to go. So leaving surgery as a last resort, we decided on doing some vocal exercises and light talking for the next few days to see if things stayed the same or got worse. This morning I had another check up to see how things were going. After another look with the camera we saw that the polyp on my left vocal chord had been hitting the opposite spot on my right vocal chord resulting in some light hemorrhaging, or bleeding. Again, this is not a good sign, and should things continue down this path, surgery will be the next option.
This season has had its share of stormy weather, but not without some silver linings. I’ve been thinking about the idea of trust. Specifically trusting God. Innumerable times in the Jesus followers life there is a decision to trust or to fear. To trust or to be anxious. To trust or to get angry. To trust or to take things into your own hands. Trust is an essential building block in any healthy relationship. In many ways, trusting God is the same as loving Him. I have been asking myself, what does trusting God really mean to me? How does it actually play out in my mind, in my heart, and in my life? It’s an easy enough thing to say. “God I trust You. Of course I do. You’re God and I’m not.” But when push comes to shove, and plans change, and uncertainty overshadows, what really wins in our hearts: trust or fear?
I am realizing that when I have said in the past that I trust God, what I was really saying was that I trust what He can do. This may just be me, but I immediately would think, I trust His power. I trust His strength. I trust His authority. But in the quiet and stillness of the last few weeks I have been hearing something different. I’ve been hearing God say, “Trust ME”. Obviously to trust God is to trust that He has all power, strength, and authority, but making the difference between trusting the power and the ONE who is powerful is changing the way I trust God.
Think about the most trustworthy person in your life. Someone who is going to be there for you. Maybe a parent or a spouse or a friend. When you trust them with a secret no one else knows, when you trust that they are going to do their best to come through for you, you are not trusting their abilities as much as you are trusting them. Their hearts and their character. They have proven they are worthy of your trust. Now multiply all that proof of character, all that reason for trusting by a million and add infinity to it, and you start to get close to where God is, and why we can trust Him so completely.
Trusting God is much more than believing He can do miracles. It’s trusting HIM! And who is HE? Well, we have the whole Bible, the Holy Spirit, and all of creation to start to answer that question, but let’s start here. God is love. God is so much love that He created a whole universe and put people in it to give love to. He is so much love that when we turned our backs on Him He didn’t turn His back on us. He chased us to the point of sending His son Jesus to us, to redeem us and make us completely His again. God is so much love that He chooses to forgive our past and welcomes us into a future of life and joy and peace and hope. God loves us so much that He welcomes us into His family, adopted and set free from guilt, from shame, from brokeness. He has totally restored our relationships with Himself, others, and the rest of creation!…and I am only scratching the surface.
This is the God we trust, and if He is for us then who can be against us? The more we get to know Him, His faithfulness, mercy, and goodness, the more reason we find to trust Him no matter what we may face. I find that as I hope in Him instead of His ability my prayer goes from “Lord, heal me” to “Lord, I believe You have all power and authority to heal me and I pray that You would if it’s Your will, but If it’s Your will that I should go through that which seems most difficult then I trust You through it and ask that You would be glorified and revealed in it all.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 holds a command that seems near impossible to fulfill.
It says, “Give thanks in ALL (emphasis mine) circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I am finding that as my idea of trusting God is shifting, my ability to obey this command has inched a little bit closer to fulfillment.
I actually got to sing a few songs today for the doctors who are helping me out. They wanted to hear how my voice was doing and they asked if I could sing them a few songs right there in the office. So I got out my guitar and sang “True Love” and “This Is Amazing Grace” as best I could. Both of these songs are about Jesus and the cross and How we have salvation through Him. It was in that moment that I was aware of how little I know and how much God is in control. To trust Him and His plans and His promises is the most beautiful and freeing way to live.
As we keep going through the process of getting my voice back to 100% I humbly ask for your continued prayers. Prayers of healing, for we believe that our God has the power to do so! Prayers of wisdom for the Doctors, and prayers for God to be glorified and revealed through this.